Entitled Cerrar abriendo (Close by opening), the sixth scene of La Capella 25 Years After, an exhibition in instalments which has told the story of this centre dedicated to emerging art since the month of January, through the artists that have exhibited there.
Five curators that have a particular link to La Capella: David Armengol, Sonia Fernández Pan, Eloy Fernández Porta, Sabel Gavaldon and Anna Manubens have reconstructed these 25 years through a succession of moments which, while avoiding any pretence of being foundational or pragmatic, turn out to be very representative of the evolution of a generation of artists.
Personally, although his name does not appear, I cannot help thinking about a sixth curator – Manel Clot – who left us too soon in 2016, and whose work was decisive for Catalan art during the 1990s. The memory of him and his legacy impregnates all of the scenes and refers us to his last exhibition réserVoir (also in La Capella, of course), which brought together twenty years on a groups of creators who were at the time emerging artists and who were in the middle of their careers. That exhibition, with the same artists twenty years on showed a method of working based on emotional connections and intellectual complicity which pointed the way to a new form of experiencing art and the relationship between artist and curator. Something similar has occurred in La Capella 25 años después, taking the form of something more passionate than analytical, more intuitive than logical, more organic than intellectual.
It is organic like the passing of time and the inevitable evolution (and corruption) of living beings and inanimate objects. The work of Julia Spinola is a good example, presented in January as a compact mass of compressed cardboard to emerge now in decompressed form as if from the dense and heavy mass of memory, moments capable of marking out various different paths had been extracted.
“contains and anticipates the uncertainty of what is to come”.
Generally, the most difficult thing about a project after its beginning tends to be its conclusion. In a text, just like in a show, the complicated thing is to find the hook which will attract the readers and then some way of closing it. However, scene 6, more than a closure, marks a number of new beginnings and is “not a full stop but a transitional fade to black which contains and anticipates the uncertainty of what is to come”, write the curators.
Like Spinola’s piece, omnipresent and always different over the six months of this show in episodes other works also contain the embryo of evolution. In 2012 Luz Broto wanted to open bricked up windows and doors in La Capella with her work Dar paso a lo desconocido (A step into the unknown). Now, seven years on she has focussed on the almost hidden spots which delineate the boundary between inside and out, between the exhibition space and the heart of El Raval neighbourhood. This new proposal Extraer las cerraduras (Remove the locks), is a minimalist intervention in form but unsettling in concept, since it changes the protocols of safety by removing what makes it possible to lock the exhibition space.
The same inside/outside tension is produced from different perspectives by the works of Tere Recarens, Jara Rocha and Joana Moll. Having exhibited the extraordinary show Terremoto (Earthquake) in 1996, (an installation which could be seen recently in the Macba thanks to Frederic Montornés), Recarens goes back 23 years with another installation of phrases which, like clothes hung out to dry, move out of the exhibition space towards the entrance, where the names of all the artists and curators that have been involved with the centre appear alongside a QR code to access their biographies.
Rocha and Moll, on the other hand, expand the perimeter of the exhibition by revealing its virtual space and pointing out the increasingly rapid changes that modify our surroundings. And if Ocaña’s Sun, restored by the group La Rosa de Vietnam indicates an ecological emergency on a worrying scale then Carlos Sáez reminds us that when it is updated technology does not disappear but survives among the waste, recycled in a sculptural whole which is activated by the passing by of the visitors… a reminder and at the same time a warning.
The exhibition Les escenes. 25 years after. Escena 6 can be visited at La Capella, Barcelona, until 23 June.